Eating crap? Hop on the slow cooker train – easy meals that go for miles

As a new parent, grabbing the nearest (remotely-edible) thing to shove in your mouth and stop the hangry attacks is probably the extent of your food planning.

Dad Cooking Slow Cooker Recipes

Juggling your time between work, wifey and baby makes for less gym time and more last minute runs to Hungry Jacks. It’s a slippery slide into dad-bod territory that can be hard to reverse.

Now that you’re responsible for a whole other person, it’s time to get organised and take charge in the kitchen. And we’ve got just the tool to help you do it – the slow cooker. With minimal effort, the slow-cooker will have you be serving gourmet meals to rounds of applause all week. It’s a new dad’s best mate.

You simply chuck a bunch of stuff in it (meat, veggies, spices if you’re feeling fancy) and forget about it. Come back 8 or so hours later (aka, the length of a typical work-day) and voila, dinner is served!

The best part is the leftovers. One batch usually covers my partner and I for at least 3 meals, or me for a week’s worth of lunches.

However, if like me you get bored eating the same thing every day, you might want to take the weekend warrior approach. I smash out a few combos on the weekends and freeze for the week ahead. I also chop a bunch of veggies and store them in containers so that I can chuck a few batches on in the mornings before I go to work.

Before you know you will have a freezer worth of food to choose from, that just needs to be occasionally topped up.

As Jamie says ‘luvly jubbly’.

Here are eight easy recipes to get you started.

Lamb shanks

From One Handed Cooks

lamb_shanks_slow_cooked
Serves 4

DAD_banner_No_Excess

Ingredients
½ cup plain flour
4 frenched lamb shanks
3 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup no added salt tomato paste
3 cups salt reduced beef stock
1 tsp thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
Potatoes

Steamed green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, asparagus, green beans)

Method

1. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Coat the lamb shanks lightly in the flour and shake off the excess.

2. Place a large, heavy-based frying pan onto the stovetop and preheat for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat for a further minute.

3. Add the lamb shanks and brown until golden all over. Remove from the pan and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

4. Lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil and the carrot, onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste, stock, thyme, bay leaves and leftover flour.

5. Transfer the shanks and vegetables to your slow cooker. Add the tomato paste, stock, thyme, bay leaves and leftover flour.

6. Arrange the lamb shanks so they are completely submerged in the sauce. Put the lid on and cook on low for 6-7 hours (the meat should fall off the bone). Remove the bay leaves and thyme stem.
7. Serve with mashed potatoes, a side of greens, and enjoy.

Ratatouille

From Planning With Kids

Slow-cooker-ratatouille-basic
Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
3 zucchini
5 tomatoes
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method

1. Prepare veggies by slicing eggplant thinly (I cut some of the bigger pieces in half), peeling garlic, cut onion into wedges, slice zucchini, roughly chop tomatoes and slice capsicums.

2. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant, leave it for a few minutes and then pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Add coconut oil to a large frying pan, add onion and fry for a couple of minutes.

4. Crush garlic into the pan, stir for a minute then add the eggplant and cook for a further few minutes.

5. Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

*If freezing your ratatouille makes it too mushy on defrosting, chuck it in the blender and heat it up for a delish veggie soup.

Sweet potato curry

From Planning With Kids

Slow-cooker-sweet-potato-curry

Ingredients

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
1 ½ tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp curry paste
1.2 kgs sweet potato (approx 2 large)
500 g broccoli (approx two small heads)
250 g carrots (approx 2 large)
1 x 400 grams can of diced tomatoes
¾ cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp turmeric paste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
440mls coconut cream
Rice to serve

Method

1. Finely chop the onion, grate the ginger and prepare the garlic for crushing.

2. Cube the sweet potato into pieces roughly 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm. Cut the broccoli into small pieces and dice the carrots.

3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the ginger and crushed garlic.

4. Add sweet potato and stir for a couple of minutes. Add in the curry paste and stir for a minute, then add all of this to the slow cooker.

5. Add broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt and pepper to the slow cooker and give a gentle stir.

6. Cook on high for 6 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.

7. Before serving, add the coconut cream. I like my curry thicker so only add the solid part and stir. Allow to heat through.

8. Serve on a bed of rice.

Beef stroganoff

From Planning With Kids

Slow-cooker-beef-stroganoff-1

Ingredients

500 grams diced beef
2 tbsp arrowroot
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
2 large potatoes, cubed 1cm x 1cm
3 large carrots, sliced thinly
1 cup beef stock
3 tbsp tomato paste
300 mls sour cream (optional)
Rice

Steamed green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, asparagus, green beans)

Method

1. In a medium sized bowl place the meat, add the arrowroot then toss.

2. Heat oil in frying pan and brown the meat.

3. Once browned, transfer the meat to the slow cooker and add the other ingredients (except the sour cream).

4. Place the lid on and cook for 8-10 hours on low, or for 4-5 hours on high.

5. In the last 30 minutes add the sour cream (optional) and stir in thoroughly.

6. Serve with rice and steamed green veggies.

Creamy garlic pot roast

From Stay at Home Mum

Slowcooker-Creamy-Garlic-Pot-Roast

Ingredients

1 packet of french onion soup mix
1 tbsp butter
1 beef roast
2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 medium onions sliced into rings
250 mls cream

Method

1. Melt the butter in the slow cooker and add the onion rings and garlic.

2. Allow to cook gently for 30 minutes on high.

3. Add the flavouring and the cream and mix well.

4. Move the creamy mix to one end of the slow cooker and add the pot roast.

5. Pile the creamy mix on top (as much as you can) and cook on low for 5 hours.

Beef and mushroom casserole

From Stay at Home Mum

slow-cooker-beef-and-mushroom

Ingredients

1.5 kg gravy beef cut into 2 cm x 2 cm cubes
½ cup plain flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
250 g button mushrooms sliced
½ cup tomato paste
2 carrots halved and sliced
500 mls beef stock

Method

1. Dust the cubed beef in flour, shaking off excess.

2. Heat a medium non-stick frypan.

3. Add 2 tbsp oil and cook beef in batches until browned all over. Set beef aside.

4. To the same frypan add remaining oil, onion, garlic and mushrooms then cook for 3-4 minutes until mushrooms start to brown and onions soften.

5. Add stock and tomato paste, stir to combine, bring the stock mixture to the boil, then remove from heat.

6. Place beef in a slow cooker, then pour hot stock and mushroom mixture over beef.

7. Add carrots, cover and place cooker for 4 hours on high or for 6-8 hours on low.

Slow cooked baked beans

From One Handed Cooks

slow_cooked_baked_beans

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 x 400 g can of no added salt chopped tomatoes
2 x 400 g can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Sprig of rosemary
Pepper to taste
Bread to toast
Steamed green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, asparagus, green beans)

Method

1. In a heavy-based frying pan, add the oil, onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the paprika, tomatoes, cannellini beans, water, wholegrain mustard, maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce.

3. Transfer to slow cooker, and cook for 4 hours on high.

4. Serve with wholegrain toast and steamed green vegetables for a complete meal.

Fish chowder in bread bowls

From One Handed Cooks

fish-chowder-in-bread-bowls

Ingredients

500 g firm white fish filets, boneless
100 g smoked ham, roughly chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups fish stock
2 cups salt reduced chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
¾ cups thickened cream
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
4 bread rolls

Method

1. Cut fish fillets into 2 cm cubes and thoroughly check for and remove all bones. Cover and place in the fridge until needed.

2. Place the ham, potato, leek, garlic, stock, bay leaf and thyme in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours, or until the potato is tender.

3. Add the fish and cream. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Stir through the lemon juice and parsley.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place bread rolls on a baking tray and bake for around 10 minutes, or until the outside of each roll is crispy.

5. Slice the top of the bread rolls off and pull out around half of the bread inside. You want to leave enough to pad out the bowl so it doesn’t leak.

6. Spoon the warm chowder into the bowls. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy.

*Obvs freeze the chowder and bread separately for this one.

 

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